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Vincennes may take over Lifelong Learning

At the invitation of some Harrison County officials, Vincennes University last week tendered a proposal to take over the Lifelong Learning center in Corydon.
Lifelong Learning was established with riverboat revenue funds in 2001.
In a June 23 letter to Vincennes, Gary L. Davis, president of the Harrison County Council, and J.R. Eckart, president of the commissioners, said:
‘As an incentive for you to enter into negotiations with Harrison County, we are prepared to offer an annual subsidy of $225,000 which includes $40,000 rent on our existing facility located at 101 W. Highway 62, Suite 104, in Corydon …
‘We are agreeable to placing the name Vincennes University on this facility.’
Last Thursday, at an informal work session, the commissioners discussed a proposed agreement publicly for the first time, presented by Vincennes administrators.
Dr. Ronald M. Davis, the Provost at Vincennes’ main campus, and Dr. Allen Johnson, dean of the Jasper campus, presented the proposal.
The proposal calls for Harrison County to provide $225,000 as an annual subsidy for 2006 and 2007, and $40,000 for rent as part of that subsidy for the current Lifelong Learning center.
In 2008, the subsidy would drop to $165,000; in 2009, $110,000; and in 2010, $55,000.
In return, Vincennes would provide courses in Corydon, which would include non-credit courses and workforce training consultation. The university would interview existing staff at Lifelong Learning for positions commencing in 2007.
Also in the memorandum, Vincennes said the university would retain control over the academic program in Corydon.
The memorandum was not signed, but came up for discussion again at the commissioners’ regular meeting Monday evening.
Commissioner James Goldman, who also serves on the Harrison County Lifelong Learning board, said, ‘A lot of work and effort has been put into Lifelong Learning, and we’ve helped a lot of people. The people we’ve been helping live in this community, and I don’t want to see us lose that.’
The Lifelong Learning program currently offers college courses from Ivy Tech, which will continue next year.
Goldman sees a problem with the proposal. He said, ‘Vincennes would take over the Lifelong Learning budget and would be deciding what to do with county employees at Lifelong Learning, and Vincennes does not have that authority.’
Doug Robson, HCLL director, said at Monday night’s meeting that the Lifelong Learning board has had no input in the proposed agreement, but should have.
He also suggested to the commissioners that they form a committee to research the county’s options with other universities. ‘Let’s not limit our choices to one offer,’ he said.
Commissioner Jim Heitkemper suggested that the first thing to do would be to establish that committee.
Robson said, ‘We agreed to agree that we do nothing until the committee is formed; plans are to establish that at the commissioners’ work session on Oct. 7, which starts at 9 a.m.
The committee is expected to include representatives from the council and commissioners, the school corporations, the Lifelong Learning board, economic development board, the Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, Harrison County Extension Service and a representative from any interested college or university.